It was a beautiful blue sky day today on the North Coast, temps in the 60’s. That’s a real bonus for us in December – we could just as well be under several inches of snow. No worries about that today! Unfortunately Dana was buried under school work. I was working on a canning project but I got out of the house about 3 pm, Andy was outside enjoying the day and I said, “Andy, it’s time to feed the birds!”
Filling the feeders is Andy’s job and he’s very careful about. It used to bother him that feed fell on the ground but I told him some birds like to eat on the ground. Also the squirrels and chipmunks eat it.
We use a mix that contains cracked corn, millet, sunflower chips and canary food (for the finches) and we mix in a bag of black oil sunflower seeds. Andy liked the mixing part. We just used our hands. It felt funny swirling the seed around.
Our squirrel proof feeders work to keep those pesky critters from gobbling up all the seed in one day. Only the little birds and woodpeckers can get to the feed. Cardinals can get in but not Blue Jays or Crows. I want to put up a platform feeder for those guys but haven’t got around to it yet. This feeder also foils the deer. They can stick their tongues throught the wires and lick off the salt but they can’t get to the seed. In the deep winter they get desperate and will empty feeders too.
It took me years to come up with this arrangement. We surrounded a double shepherd’s hook with stove pipe, added a cap on top and a baffle on the bottom. I watched for a while and then cut down all the branches that the squirrels could use for a launching pad. I’ve watched them climb up the frame of the swing, contemplate the distance, even give a little wiggle as if getting ready for a jump, then give up and climb back down, searching the ground for seed pulled out by the birds. That cap is slick too and I did see one go ahead and try the leap then slide to the ground! They always land on their feet like cats. Anyway, it’s not the most beautiful arrangement but it works.
It’s not that we don’t like the squirrels, it’s just that they eat so much! We have these big, fat red squirrels. Many a morning I have been startled awake sure that someone is walking on my roof then remember it’s just these fat guys. When Andy feeds the birds he always scatters some seed at the base of the trees in the back for the squirrels and ground birds. This photo shows that they can feed themselves, this one is eating tulip popular seeds and we did not disturb him at all – he stayed near us the whole time Andy was working.
Andy finished the job and carried the bin back into the house. We store it right inside the back door. We used to store it outside but a chipmunk ate through the plastic. We tried a metal can outside but the raccoons figured that one out!
Just as soon as we hit the back patio the birds were already eating at the feeder and chirping away. I told Andy they were saying, Thank you, Thank you!